Lost in Timbuktu
It was encouraging to hear yesterday that French and Malian troops had retaken the historic city of Timbuktu, but it was hard to take any joy in it when it was mixed with the news that the fleeing rebels had torched the Ahmed Baba Institute.
If you haven’t heard of the treasure trove of books which were in that library, Paula Froelich has a short description. A tiny fraction of the documents had been digitized by the Tombouctou Manuscripts Project, and there are other, smaller libraries which may have been spared, but it’s still an appalling waste.
If you’d like to know more about what’s going on in Mali, I recommend one of the blogs I follow: Bridges from Bamako.
When we went to see Habib Koité a couple of years ago, we talked to a number of people who had been to the music festival in Timbuktu. It sounded like an amazing experience. Hopefully the mess in Mali will settle down enough that it can once again be known for its music rather than for war and terror.